Name dropping – Three centre stage physicists
Usually I wouldn't do name-dropping, mostly because of an unreliable memory for names. Thus it is better to write them down. Here is my short list of three, now active, physicists that I think you really need to know about.
Last year (2016) Janna Levin released a new book titled Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space. That was actually how I found her, from a recorded book promotion event. Well, I have not actually read the book, but hearing Janna telling stories fascinated me. She is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University, where she works as a theoretical physicist within areas like black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves. But she seem to be spending as much time working around artists at Ruskin School of Fine Art, where she is a scientist-in-residence. She seems to have a lot of cultural interest and understanding, far from the clichés most physicists start throwing at you when they foolishly enter into discussions about culture and art.
He is the Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics—one of the best places in the world to work as a theoretical physicist. At least that is the impression when you read about them, or watch some of the many great talks at the PI YouTube channel.
When it comes to his work I know him most for developing a cyclic model of the universe where the big bang is explained as a collision between two brane-worlds. But actually, the most impressive work of Turok's migt be AIMS. The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. An initiative to spread higher education (postgraduate) in Mathematics and Science on the African continent.
I saved the most obvious for last. On his Wikipedia page, professor Sean M. Carroll is described as specializing in dark energy and general relativity, but I have most of all enjoyed his discussions about Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Physics, two areas where his brilliance is obvious. I especially want to mention one area of his work: Trying to derive space and time as emergent properties of more fundamental principles. In my view this is a very interesting approach.
Beyond theoretical physics, Sean is also a great science communicator. He has written a number of popular books, and has even participated in debates about religion and god.